Local Atlanta news

Alison Guillory / WABE

As South Carolina struggled this week not only with floods, but also with a shortage of drinking water, Atlanta leaders worked to make sure if a disaster strikes here, the city will have a backup water supply.

Mic Smith / Associated Press

As South Carolina copes with deadly flooding from Hurricane Joaquin, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency is sending help.

About half a dozen GEMA members are already stationed in South Carolina, helping with communications, damage assessment and disaster response.

That number is likely to increase in the next few days or weeks.

“With a flood disaster, we're really in the first phase of the issue,” says GEMA Director Jim Butterworth.

CARE CEO Reveals Vision For International Nonprofit

14 hours ago
Mary Kate MacIsaac / CARE

The Atlanta-based international humanitarian organization CARE is one of the oldest global aid groups, founded initially in 1945 as a means of providing CARE packages to the victims of World War II in Europe.

At the end of the war, American charities, civic and religious groups, and labor organizations formed what would become the modern-day CARE.

Over the past 70 years, the nonprofit, anti-poverty organization has expanded its operations into 90 countries, providing aid to more than 70 million people.

Actor Bill Cosby addresses a gathering at the 34th Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2004, in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

A judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a woman who accuses Bill Cosby of molesting her at the Playboy Mansion in the 1970s when she was 15.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan ruled Wednesday that Judy Huth's lawsuit against Cosby should be allowed to proceed over the objections of Cosby's attorneys.

Lawyers for the 78-year-old comedian sought to dismiss Huth's lawsuit because her previous attorney failed to follow rules for how older sex abuse cases should be handled.

Million Man March Legacy 20 Years Later, Ahead Of New March

15 hours ago
Doug Mills / AP Photo

The first Million Man March on Washington, D.C., in 1995 drew hundreds of thousands of African-American men from across the nation to the National Mall.

It was organized by civil rights activists, including Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., the founder of the National African-American Leadership Summit, and Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam organization.

The mission of the march was to draw attention to social and economic issues plaguing African-American communities and a call for unity and political action.

Rapper Sonny Spoon has been named as one of the higher-ups arrested in what authorities say was a large-scale drug organization based in Macon.

U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore told local media Tuesday that the 45-year-old rapper, whose real name is James E. Maxwell, was among 31 people charged with drug trafficking, gun and money laundering offenses.

Maxwell made a name for himself regionally after recording a song called "Dirty Bird," which saluted the 1998 Atlanta Falcons and their run to the Super Bowl.

USCPublicDiplomacy / flickr.com/public_diplomacy


In November, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta ─ better known as the MJCCA ─ kicks off its 24th annual book festival.

On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Atlanta Jewish Academy, the MJCCA offers a prologue to the book festival with a presentation from Michael B. Oren on his new memoir "Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide.”


The music world has lost a "Royal" singer ... Billy Joe Royal.

Royal, 73, was born in Valdosta, Georgia, in 1942, and he started singing shortly thereafter.

He got his start performing on the "Georgia Jubilee" radio program, which is where he met fellow singers such as Joe South and Jerry Reed.

Royal's first big hit was "Down in the Boondocks," which made the Top 10.

His other hits include "Burned Like a Rocket," "I Knew You When" and "Tell It Like It Is."

Royal was a 1988 inductee of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

The effort to build a minor league baseball program in Macon moves ahead. On Tuesday, the Macon-Bibb County Commission voted in favor of spending $50,000 on a study to determine if the area could support a baseball team. The research, which should take about two months to complete, will be done by a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. 

Three minor league teams had short stints in the Macon area over the past 13 years.  

Elly Yu / WABE


DeKalb County residents turned out to a town hall meeting in Brookhaven Tuesday night to discuss a recent report into countywide government corruption. 

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester, hosted the meeting of about 50 residents. She told the residents she recently introduced a measure that could prevent the abuse of county funds. 

"It should never be the case that these expenditures, that were illegal, questionable should have ever gotten out," she said.

Authorities say a handcuffed man seeking to avoid arrest died after he crashed through the third-floor window glass of a downtown office building and fell 40 feet to the ground.

Spokeswoman Tiffany Russell says the man reported Tuesday to a pretrial services program of Atlanta's Fulton County Superior Court when authorities determined he had a gun. She says he jumped from the window when officers were planning to arrest him. He died later at a hospital.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he's black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

Ludacris performs as part of Final Four Big Dance Concerts at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Atlanta.
Robb D. Cohen/RobbsPhotos/Invision / Associated Press

WABE sent our reporters out to find out one thing: "What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" This is the latest installment in the series. 

Atlanta has been central to hip-hop for years. WABE asked Atlanta’s DJ Drama, Kawan Prather, Bear Sills and DJ Cowboy when they knew Atlanta had made it in the previously New York- and Los Angeles-dominated world of hip-hop.

Atlanta Activist Helps Abuse Victims Become Survivors

Oct 6, 2015
Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

The Violence Against Women Act is now 25 years old. It was introduced in Congress in June of 1990 by then U.S. Senator and current Vice President Joe Biden. But it took four years for a divided U.S. Congress to pass the legislation.

Eventually it provided programs and resources for victims of domestic and sexual violence, and sparked an increase in public awareness about the horrors and the family cycle of the violence.

A measure has been introduced to repeal an Atlanta ordinance that news photographers said was being used to stop them from taking photos on public sidewalks.

The City Council on Monday discussed a measure to repeal an ordinance prohibiting photographers from shooting commercial photos outside of businesses without the owner's permission.

Brenna Beech / WABE

Atlanta City Council has just renewed what's known as the Atlanta Police Department's Recapture Program.

Part of the goal is to save money and fill vacancies by hiring retired officers.

The Atlanta Police Department first began the Recapture Program in 2013 amid concerns it was losing senior talent and had too many new officers. Some of the new officers leave to take jobs at other metro area police departments after they are trained.  

So City Council approved a program to hire retired officers in order to bring back some of that expertise.

Dan Raby / WABE

It was not a good season for the Atlanta Braves, especially for ticket sales.

The Atlanta Braves' home attendance for the 2015 season was just over 2 million, according to baseballreference.com.

That's the lowest number of fans in 25 years.

One reason for low sales was the team's lackluster performance. The team ended the year with a record of 67-and-95 – its worst since 1990.

Of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, the Braves ranked 24th in sales, according to ESPN.com.

Marcus Williams / flickr.com/marcuswms

Parts of metro Atlanta are seeing a development boom, but as cranes fill the skyline and sidewalks close to construction, it can often seem like only one kind of project is being built: mixed-use developments.

According to Curbed Atlanta's Michael Kahn, the term has become a buzzword for developers over the past decade and can mean anything from "cookie-cutter" condominiums with a floor of retail space to adaptive re-use projects like Ponce City Market.

But he says the basic idea behind these projects predates the popularity of the term.

Georgia Supreme Court building
Nick Nesmith / WABE


The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Monday over a state statute that dictates how “sexually dangerous predators” are classified.

Scott Gregory was designated a “sexually violent predator” in 2013, which is the highest risk designation and requires him to wear an electronic monitor for the rest of his life. Gregory was convicted for exposing himself and performing a sexually explicit act via webcam to an individual he believed was a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents. 

Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Former President Jimmy Carter is stepping in to help resolve a legal battle over Rev. Martin Luther King Junior's traveling Bible and his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal.  

The late civil rights leader's estate is controlled by his sons, who last year asked a judge to order their sister to surrender the items. In a board of directors meeting, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King voted 2-1 against Bernice King to sell the two artifacts to a private buyer.

Northeast Georgia is still cleaning up after heavy rains and wind gusts of 50 mph downed trees and power lines across the region over the weekend. 

The Habersham Electric Membership Corporation and Georgia Power reported Monday afternoon that around 1,000 people remain in the dark in Habersham, White, Lumpkin and Hall counties.

White County was one of the hardest hit in the state. White County Public Safety Director David Murphy says conditions are improving compared to Monday morning. He says as of Monday afternoon all but four roads have been cleared of debris.

First Black Woman Leader Of ABA To Focus On Diversity

Oct 5, 2015
Marco Garcia / Associated Press

Lawyer James Overton Broadhead was the first president of the American Bar Association, elected to the position in August 1878 by 75 lawyers from 20 states and the District of Columbia in Saratoga Springs, New York. 

Broadhead was also a member of Congress in the House of Representatives and a Missouri state senator.

Disney is raising prices for annual pass holders to its Disneyland and California Adventure parks.

An anytime pass, which used to cost $779, now costs $1,049. That pass comes with free parking and unlimited downloads of park photos.

Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown told the Los Angeles Times a restricted version of the pass sells for $849 but has two weeks of blackout days, including the Christmas and New Year's holiday seasons, the park's most popular dates. The park says the move is meant to prevent overcrowding.

Prices of most other annual passes also went up.

Courtesy of Ajibade Family

The trial against two former deputies in the death of a Savannah college student starts Monday.   

Mathew Ajibade, 21, was found dead in a Chatham County jail cell in January.  Prosecutors say he was tazed four times while being held in restraints after starting a fight with the deputies who were booking him.

A grand jury indicted the former sheriff's deputies and a nurse working at the jail for involuntary manslaughter.

They're accused of falsifying documents to make it look they performed welfare checks on Ajibade.

Prices at the pump in Atlanta have dropped more than a dollar over the past year.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Commuters in the Atlanta area are paying less to fill up.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.19, according to AAA.

That’s about a 1 cent drop from last week, and it’s down $1.20 from this time last year.

Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press

Liberty Counsel, the law firm that revealed Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' secret meeting with the pope, has been accused by advocacy groups of peddling misrepresentations before.

Yet it has become the main source of details about the controversial pope meeting.

Chuck Burton / Associated Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Much of Columbia and a surrounding chunk of the state are in disarray after more than 18 inches of rain fell in spots and hundreds had to be rescued.


There's no word yet on the fate of the vessel that lost contact during Hurricane Joaquin or the 33 people on board.


Courtesy of Ajibade Family

Three former jail workers are scheduled to stand trial in the death of a 21-year-old Georgia man who died alone in a cell after fighting with sheriff's deputies.

Mathew Ajibade  of Savannah was found dead in a restraint chair at the Chatham County jail a few hours after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge Jan. 1. Two ex-deputies and a former jail nurse are charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Court records say Ajibade started a fight with deputies booking him and was strapped into a chair with his hands cuffed and legs shackled.

Georgia Power says nearly 22,000 customers had lost power throughout the state.

The utility company spokesman Jim Barber says the outages started around 10 a.m. Sunday with the vast majority of residents losing power in northeast Georgia. Barber says rainfall and high winds toppled trees in soggy soil caused the outages.

Barber says most of the outages were north of Gainesville in counties including Cleveland, Cornelia and Dahlonega.


Hurricane Joaquin isn't expected to pass over Georgia, but he will still make his presence known here.

"Across the Southeast into portions of Georgia, we will be getting quite a bit of rainfall – especially headed into tomorrow because of moisture associated with Joaquin being pulled into our area," Ryan Willis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said. 

Willis said there could be up to five inches of rain north and east of Atlanta. Gwinnett County may see up to three inches of rain and Athens may see five inches of rain.